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Rick Goldthorpe, a 34-year-old plumber who was previously jailed for gas safety related offences, has ended up in court again, this time receiving a suspended sentence for his illegal work on a gas boiler installation in Cheshire. This marks the latest incident in a series of gas safety breaches that date back almost a decade.
In the most recent case, Goldthorpe was hired by a woman in Sandbach who had asked a local Facebook group to recommend a gas engineer. Goldthorpe offered his services, promising he was a Gas Safe registered engineer and even sent her a copy of his gas training certificate. Trusting his credentials, the woman paid more than £600 for him to carry out the work. When Goldthorpe arrived at her home, he identified a leak in an upstairs bedroom, and the woman agreed for him to fix it.
However, she became dissatisfied with his work and researched Goldthorpe online, only to discovered his past convictions. This led to a new investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which found that Goldthorpe carried out the installation of gas appliances while not being Gas Safe registered.
Despite Goldthorpe’s history and the fact that he was not Gas Safe registered, the HSE found his latest work to be ‘satisfactory.’ Consequently, Goldthorpe was sentenced to a total of 32 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay £1000 costs at Chester Magistrates on 6 November 2023. He also had to pay a £154 victim surcharge.
Goldthorpe’s legal troubles began in earnest in 2014 when he breached a prohibition notice barring him from carrying out gas fitting work or servicing pipework. Despite this, he continued his rogue practices, leading to a series of faulty gas boiler installations. In 2020, Goldthorpe was jailed for 16 months for safety offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Despite his jail sentence, Goldthorpe continued his malpractice, leading to the most recent investigation in 2022.
Some of his faulty gas boiler installations were highlighted on the BBC’s consumer protection show, Rogue Traders, in 2019. After the episode aired, several people came forward with their own reports of faulty installations by Goldthorpe. In one case, a woman was affected by carbon monoxide fumes within hours of Goldthorpe working on her boiler, highlighting the potential dangers of his work.
Commenting on the latest conviction, HSE inspector Rose Leese-Weller said: “Richard Goldthorpe brazenly undertook gas work which he knew he was not registered to do. All gas work must be done by registered Gas Safe engineers to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life. Such offenders will be prosecuted.
“Goldthorpe has been previously prosecuted for the same offences and had even been warned on national television that he was breaking the law. The work he did was unsafe, it is only a matter of chance that no one was seriously harmed.
“All gas work must be done by registered Gas Safe engineers to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life. The public should always ask to see the gas engineer’s identification and check the registration number online (www.gassaferegister.co.uk) or ring the Gas Safe Register customer helpline 0800 408 5500.”
This HSE prosecution was supported by HSE senior enforcement lawyer Nathan Cook and enforcement lawyer Gemma Zakrzewski.